The trend of consolidating equipment is going faster and faster. Cell Phones and PDAs are becoming intertwined and so are printers, scanners, copiers and faxes. The Canon MP530 is one of Canons latest entries into the All-In-One printer category.
- 1,856 precision nozzles—up to 9600 x 2400 color dpi
- 1 picoliter sized ink droplets
- PictBridge capable
- Fax at up to 33.6 Kbps in color/B&W, store 40 speed-dial codes, and receive 150 incoming pages into memory.
- 1200-dpi scans, with 48-bit color depth.
- 30 page automatic document feeder
- USB 2.0 interface
- Dual Color Gamut Processing Technology automatically optimizes copy quality based on the type of originals you are copying.
If there is a feature that can be added to a printer then the Canon MP530 probably has it. The MP530 includes a Color inkjet printer, Scanner, Fax, Copier, and a PictBridge connection. It is only missing a network card, media card slots and an LCD preview screen. The bigger brother to this printer, the Pixma MP830, provides faster speeds, media card slots, and a preview LCD, but still no networking capability. The MP830 costs about $100 more.
The inkjet printer uses five ink cartridges. The colors are: dye-based black, cyan, magenta, yellow, and a pigment-based black. The dye-based black is used for mixing with the other colors so the printer can make new colors. The pigment-based black is for text and stuff that is all black. The dye-based ink cartridge costs $14.25 each, and the pigment-based black cartridge costs $16.25. Unlike other printers the MP530 ships with full ink cartridges. This means you won’t have to buy new cartridges anytime soon. A light mounted on the front of each cartridge slot tells you when your cartridge is empty. According to the costs and the yeild of each cartridge the price per print of a 4″ x 6″ photo quality picture is about 15 cents and for a full sized page of mixed text and color is about 9 cents.
The fax uses a built in 33.6 Kbps (Super G3 color fax). Even though it is a slower modem you will probably not max it out because most public telephone lines limit you to 28.8 Kbps or lower, depending on telephone line conditions. With this modem you can transmit in Color and Black and White. It takes about 3 seconds per page to send a Black and White page and about 1 minute 20 seconds per page for color documents. Make sure the other end also has a color fax otherwise you are wasting your time. With the included internal memory the fax can also store 40 speed-dial codes, and receive 150 incoming pages.
The scanner is fairly standard and provides scan resolutions of 1200 x 2400 dpi optical and 19,200 x 19,200 dpi interpolated. The output for each scan is 48-bit internal/24-bit external. The maximum document size that can be scanned is 8.5″ x 11.7″. The automatic document feeder (ADF) can be used to make scanning easier by letting you load 30 pages to scan and then walk away and come back when it is finished.
The copier offers a lot of useful features. It is able to copy in color and in black and white. Color is copied at about 3.2 seconds per page and Black and White is copied about 2.1 seconds per page. There are also many other features that you can use when you copy like: Auto Magnification, AE (Auto Exposure), Borderless, Auto Duplex, Fit-to-Page, 4 on 1, 2 on 1, Image Repeat, Sort Copy, Continuous Copy: 1-99 Pages, Dual Color Gamut Processing Technology. The copier also allows you to reduce and enlarge from 25% to 400%.
When you first look at the MP530 you will be impressed at how Canon fits so much into such a little package. Even though it is compact with dimensions of 18.5″ wide, 18.4″ deep, and 10.4″ tall it is not a tiny printer. Add to that a weight of 28 lbs. and you are looking at something you won’t want to move every day. I recommend a separate table or stand for the printer because it would take over any desk it was put on.
The front of the MP530 is where you will find the controls, paper output, and a PictBridge connection. The controls consist of about 30 buttons which control every aspect of the printer and a small display. Fourteen of those buttons are set aside for the Fax functionality. You have 12 for dialing numbers just like on a phone and a redial and coded dial button. The five buttons to the left of the fax buttons are for accessing the menus. The three buttons to the left of those are for manually starting the copier or fax, there is a button for color and another for black and white copies and faxes. Going left again we see another 9 buttons that configure some copy and fax functionality. Left again you see three more buttons that determine what mode the printer is in. This mode determines what it does when you press buttons and access menus. For example, if you are in fax mode, then when you press the start button the MP530 starts sending a fax. Also, if you want a fax to be printed immediately when it is received you need to be in fax mode, otherwise it will be stored in memory. You can print and scan from your computer no matter what mode it is in. The last button which is the furthest left is the power button. There is nothing fancy here it just turns the printer on and off.
Below the control panel is the paper output tray, PictBridge connection and a paper cartridge. One of the nicest features of the paper output tray is if you forget to open it up, it will automatically open when printing begins. The PictBridge connection is standard, just plug in your camera and choose print. The paper cassette is something I have not seen before in a compact printer like this, but it is very nice. You can load your plain paper in here and leave the rear paper tray in the back for your custom paper. Use the feed switch button on the control panel to choose where you want the paper to come from. You can also use the printer settings on your computer to override the feed switch. Both the paper cassette and the rear paper tray can hold about 150 sheets of paper.
On the top is the Automatic Document Feeder. This will hold up to 30 pages at a time and can be used for the Fax, Scanner and Copier. Behind that is the manual paper loading tray. It is covered up with a nice cover that when folded up will act like the paper guide. Also on the back is the rear cover. This is a large door that opens so you can clear jammed paper. On the right side of the back is the USB and the phone line connection, and on the left is the power plug.
When you first open the box you will notice that you will need to install some things. The main things to install are the print cartridges, and the cartridge holder. There are clear instructions on how to do this, but it is not in the manual, instead Canon put it on a separate piece of paper. I highly recommend that you pay attention to this paper and follow it closely. Once you have the ink installed you are ready to go. You don’t even need a computer to begin using the fax and copier functionality. If you want to scan and print you will first need to install the software and plug it into a computer.
Printing to the printer is as easy as just pushing the print button from your favorite program, but buried in many menus are a lot of configurations that will allow you to set the print quality, paper type and even do double sided printing. On a printer like this double sided printing is a very nice feature. It is not a clearly marked feature, but you can find it, if you look under the printer properties on the page setup tab — it is called Duplex Printing. If you don’t know what duplex means then this will really confuse you because that same section talks about stapling. This printer does not include a stapler, but instead will leave a margin so that you can staple the pages later. For some reason, I don’t know why, Canon thought it would make sense to put duplex printing and stapling together. I would have preferred a simple checkbox that said Double Sided printing. Once you have it setup double sided printing works great.
Scanning is something you can do from the computer or from the printer. Either way it will need to be connected to a computer or else it won’t have anywhere to send the scan. You will also need to be running a program that can accept a scanned document or image. Luckily, the Canon MP530 ships with one such program, the Presto! PageManager. The quality of the scan is excellent as you can see from the following images.
Faxing is one of the tasks that you will do without the aid of your computer; because of this, it is important for it to be easy. Faxing a document is only as difficult as dialing a phone number and making sure your paper is in the ADF with the text facing up. Because there is not a duplexer on the ADF, you can only send single sided documents. If you have a double sided document you will have to copy one of the sides onto another page and then fax it as two single sided documents. I really had no problems setting it up. I was even able to set up the fax to only pick up on a double ring, a double ring is a distinctive ring my phone company setup to indicate a fax was coming.
Copying, like faxing, is also something you can do without the need of a computer. Like faxing, you can only copy single sided documents, but you can copy two single sided documents onto one double sided page. There are also many other options like reducing or enlarging your copy.
Overall the printing, scanning, and copying was really good quality and fast. I printed off several pictures that I had and I could not tell that they came from a printer, and not from the store. Printing speeds were also very fast. The MP530 was able to print about 6 pages a minute in Black and White. Printing photos was a lot slower at about 1 photo every 3 minutes. Scanning was fast with both color and black and white, both had a speed of about 5 pages per minute. Copying was a little slower then scanning, but that is because it has to print what is scanned. The MP530 was able to copy about 4 pages per minute in black and white. Quality was excellent in all the tests, even with text, which is difficult for ink-jet printers. The text was not as clear as my laser printer, but it was much clearer than my old Epson ink-jet.
The only complaint I have about this printer is the lack of Network support. I have a home and office network where I need to be able to print from more than one computer. It would be nice to even be able to scan and fax from the other computers. If Canon would add a network card and add network support to the software then there would be nothing that this printer could not do. You can hook this printer up to a print server, but because most print servers do not support multi-function printers you would lose the ability to scan and fax from your computer. There are USB hubs that claim to be able to share USB devices between more than one computer, but I have not tried them so I don’t know how well they work.
Warranty and Support
Canon provides a one-year limited warranty for the Pixma MP530, as well as a year of free, toll-free phone support Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. You can extend the warranty to three years for $95. You can also get tech support via e-mail, and Canon says it will respond within 24 hours. Canon’s site has FAQs, a troubleshooting tool, downloadable drivers and software, and PDFs of product and software manuals.
If you are looking for a new All-In-One printer then I think you have just read about it. I would even consider buying one myself and as soon as I send this one back to Canon I might just do that. With options and features galore and a decent warranty you can count on this printer to last a long time. Now if Canon would only add network support they would truly have an great printer that could be used in an Office. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|